Despite the fact that I'm a Florida State guy through and through, I've always believed that Grossman has what it takes to succeed in the NFL, physically and otherwise. He's not in Steve Spurrier's Fun-n-Gun anymore, but Coach Turner will certainly give him an opportunity to put up some respectable numbers in the passing game. I think 3,200 yards and 18 TDs would be a great season not only for him, but for just about any Bears quarterback in this offense. If he can stay healthy for 16 games, he'll be light years better than Kyle Orton was a year ago. Now if you're looking for a fantasy performer, I'd be hesitant to even have Grossman as my backup.
When was the last time the Bears played three quarterbacks in the same game? - Prometheuss
December 28, 2003. It was the season finale at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, and the Chiefs humiliated the Bears to the tune of a 31-3 beatdown. Priest Holmes set two NFL records that day, one for rushing touchdowns in a single season and one for total touchdowns in a single season when he scored his 26th and 27th. Rex Grossman started but left with an injured hand. He was replaced by an ineffective Kordell Stewart (5-of-15 for 86 yards, two INTs), who was then replaced by an equally ineffective Chris Chandler (6-of-17 for 81 yards). Remember those days?
During voluntary offseason drills, we heard a lot about Benson's struggles in recognizing blitz packages and, of course, his blocking abilities (which we heard about last year, too). Since training camp, though, this subject seems to have disappeared in the papers. How is Cedric progressing as a blocker on passing downs? - GSHSoldier
Head coach Lovie Smith has answered questions about Benson's blocking a few times since training camp, and for the most part, he seems to be making progress in that area. Blocking for a running back is all about effort and knowing your responsibilities. Younger players struggle a lot in this area because in college, they are essentially told, "Block this guy." In the NFL, with the elaborate blitz packages and constantly changing alignments, it takes a while before a running back learns which defender he needs to block in each situation. A pass play could be called three times in a row, but based on what the defense is doing, Benson might have to chip the end the first time, pick up a linebacker in the middle the second time, then get to a blitzing corner on the edge the third time.
I know the Bears are usually against bringing in players with off-the-field problems, but do you think Koren Robinson might have been worth taking a look at after he got cut by Minnesota? He seems to have a ton of talent if anyone can ever harness it. – Cole (Naperville, IL)
Cole obviously asked this question before Robinson was signed by Green Bay, but based on what I've heard, most experts are puzzled by the transaction and believe it is a sign of desperation. There is still a good chance he will be subject to a one-year suspension if the NFL chooses to investigate the incident further. He has a world of talent, but even before his much-publicized problems, he was still a chronic underachiever in Seattle. Sure, he was a Pro-Bowler last season, but that was as a special teams return man, not as a wideout. Yes, the Bears go out of their way to avoid players with obvious character issues, so I don't think Robinson was anywhere on GM Jerry Angelo's radar after Minnesota released him.
Is it true that Smith and Turner kind of handcuffed Grossman after he threw the interception in the red zone, and with a defense like ours and a small lead, why would there be any need to play conservative? – HastyUNC
It's impossible to say if it is definitely true or not because neither Smith nor Turner would admit such a thing on record, but I think that was probably the case. I don't think, however, that the interception was the direct cause. The Bears had a solid lead, and with the defense suffocating Brett Favre on just about every possession, there was no reason to get too fancy. No matter how much Grossman progresses this season, the team is still going to revolve around running the ball and playing defense. Carelessly chucking the ball all over the field just for the sake of doing so is for self-proclaimed geniuses like Mike Martz.
Do you think Soldier Field provides one of the better home field advantages in the NFL, or is that overrated? - Parker (Provo, UT)
I've always believed that Bears fans are some of the best in the NFL and that Soldier Field can be a tough place to play for any opponent. Especially in December when the elements are in full effect. However, I truly believe that college stadiums offer more of a home field advantage because the opposing players are younger and not quite as mature to handle such an environment, plus you can pack in 100,000+ in places like Ann Arbor and Knoxville. Devin Hester said before Week 1 at Lambeau Field that playing FSU in Tallahassee was the most hostile venue he's ever seen. In the NFL, dome teams probably have the biggest advantage because of the noise ... synthetic or not.
If Michael Haynes was a good player but not a good fit for the Bears defensive system, then why was he just cut from the lowly Saints? - Frank (Kenner, LA)
Haynes was still feeling the lingering effects of his training camp back injury, but more likely, he just might not be a very good football player. I loved it when the Bears drafted him because I saw him make every play in the Senior Bowl and thought he was the best player on the field. But he never panned out, so he might be one of those guys who excelled in college but never translated those skills to the NFL game.
Based on what he did in his first pro game, how much will the Texans regret not taking Reggie Bush? - Bill (Arlington, TX)
Without being too hyperbolic, that draft decision could absolutely cripple the franchise for years to come. They thought they had a decent tailback in Domanick Davis, but the oft-injured former Bayou Bengal is on IR and will miss the entire 2006 season. If you saw what rookie Wali Lundy did this past Sunday, to put it mildly, he's no Reggie Bush. The Texans just traded for Samkon Gado, and even though he was the fifth-string guy for the Packers at the outset of last season, he's currently the best runner on Houston's roster. Bush was all over the field for the Saints last Sunday, and the combination of versatility and explosiveness he possesses will make him a superstar very soon.
Is Hunter Hillenmeyer actually a good player, or does he just look good playing alongside Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs? - Sean (Oak Park, IL)
Although I believe Hunter is a good player, let's face it, he couldn't be in a better situation. Urlacher and Briggs are two of the most dominant linebackers in the league, so he will always be able to play in relative obscurity. That being said, he is a very smart young man, makes very few mistakes, and is a perfect fit for this speed-based system.
I know it's early, but is there any thought to what the Bears might do in the 2007 NFL Draft? - Rusty (Champaign, IL)
Yes, it is awfully early to speculate that far in advance since we won't really know where the holes are on this team for a while, but I have an idea or two. The average age of the starting offensive line is about 31 years old, and although former practice-squader Anthony Oakley has made progress, a young tackle would be a nice choice. Even if Bernard Berrian and Mark Bradley make strides this season, Muhsin Muhammad is 33 and won't play too much longer, so maybe a wideout. If Briggs simply wants too much money, a linebacker might make sense, even though Leon Joe and Jamar Williams both look like they can play. In my eyes, O-line would be the way to go.